Ah, the perfectionist and public speaking. Without a doubt, those who seek perfection when addressing an audience are chasing an elusive dream. There are no sports played perfectly, no concerts performed without a flaw and no theater productions that are delivered without a mistake. While you may believe that the game was thrilling, or the concert was sublime, or the play was excellent, none of those adjectives mean perfection.

What is perfection in a live performance? Just because you think it was perfect does not necessarily mean that someone else will think it perfect. The truth of this statement can be found in the reviews that will be written about the game or the performance. You may have thought it was perfect; the reviewer may have felt differently.

Instead of obsessing about trying to achieve the impossible in public speaking, why not strive to do the best job that you can do?

    1. Know your material by creating it a few weeks in advance. Do not wait until the day before the event because that will only add to your stress.
    2. Practice delivering your speech or presentation OUT LOUD. If you think you can address an audience by only going over your script in your mind, think again. You are guaranteed to say and hear things that will surprise you if you do not rehearse your material orally.
    3. When practicing, if you make a mistake, do not let it bother you. If you make a lot of mistakes, you don’t know your material very well. Keep practicing.
    4. Learn your material in blocks. Your opening is a block and every subtopic to follow is a block of material as well as your closing. It is much easier to learn how you are going to say it if you practice by this method.
    5. Be realistic in your goals. A mistake or two is not the end of the world. Speaking from your heart with passion and emotion, making eye contact with your audience, and striving to do the best job – not a perfect one – should be your goal.

Your audience is not expecting perfection. They have chosen to be in attendance because they believe you have something of value to offer them. They are your reason for speaking – it is not the other way around. This is something all public speakers should understand first and foremost because without an audience, there is no presentation or speech.

Do not obsess over something which is unattainable. Seek excellence instead.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes Your Least Developed Tool!